Police: Home invaders break into wrong homes

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police in Charlotte are investigating a string of home invasions over the last several weeks.
 
They think the suspects were targeting specific people but ended up terrorizing innocent families who lived nearby.
 
Police said the first two home invasions happened in a west Charlotte apartment complex on Forestbrook Drive.
 
They said the two suspects were carrying a gun and kicked in Lilly Minter's front door.
 
"We were surprised and shocked because we're a family and we have two small little children," said Minter.
 
Fortunately, she wasn't home at the time but police reports said the men stole two of her computers worth more than $1,400 then they broke into a nearby apartment where police said Joel Velez lives in.
 
They believe Velez was dealing drugs out of the apartment and said the crooks were searching for his apartment all along.
 
"There was a note of marijuana in the apartment. At that time we didn’t have any other issues or evidence," said Lt. Anderson Royston.
 
They said Velez was evicted and moved into another apartment complex down the street.
 
"Less than a week later somebody kicks in and robs home next door to him again," Royston said.
 
The innocent family in that home was held up at gunpoint while the thieves stole a cellphone.
 
Police said they found marijuana, a gun and cash in Velez's nearby apartment and arrested him.
 
Neighbors told Eyewitness News they're rattled.
 
"It does concern me especially when we have our children here as well," said
 
Police said incidents like this happen often. They're warning neighbors to speak up about possible drug activity before crimes take place.
 
"This could happen to you. You could be at home minding your business and they come to your house. Luckily nobody got hurt," said Royston.

Royston encourages  apartment complexes to use the new social media site https://nextdoor.com/ to share information about tenants who sell drugs or engage in other crimes.

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